More Bad News For Energy Drink Lovers

Red Bull Bottle in IceLast month we told you about the dangers of high acidity in sports drinks. Now, new research claims that energy drinks can cause heart problems.

The research provided by the European Society of Cardiology states that consuming a number of energy drinks in a row can lead to many adverse conditions such as angina, cardiac arrhythmia an irregular heartbeat and even sudden death.

The study analyzed adverse events reported to the A.N.S.E.S., the French agency for food safety. Between January of 2009 and November of 2012, specialists such as cardiologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and physiologists contributed to the investigation and the findings were compared to published data in the scientific literature.

What They Found

The researchers found that:

  • Consumption of the 103 energy drinks in France increased by 30 percent between 2009 and 2011 up to over 30 million liters.

  • The leading brand made up 40 percent of energy drinks consumed.

  • Two-thirds of the drinks were consumed away from home.

  • During the two-year period 257 cases were reported to the agency and 212 provided sufficient information for food and drug safety evaluation.

  • Ninety-five of the reported adverse events had cardiovascular symptoms, 74 psychiatric and 57 neurological, sometimes overlapping.

  • Cardiac arrests and sudden or unexplained deaths occurred at least in eight cases.

  • Forty-six people had heart rhythm disorders, 13 people had angina and three had hypertension.

  • Caffeine syndrome was the most common problem occurring in 60 people. It is characterized by a fast heart rate called tachycardia tremor, anxiety and headache.


Patients with cardiac conditions including catecholaminergic arrhythmias, long QT syndrome and angina should be aware of the potential danger of a large intake of caffeine, which is a stimulant that can exacerbate their condition with possibly fatal consequences, said Professor Milou-Daniel Drici. The general public needs to know that so-called energy drinks have absolutely no place during or after physical exercise, as compared with other drinks designed for that purpose. When used in long alcoholic cocktails, the caffeine in energy drinks enables young people in dance clubs or elsewhere to overcome the unwanted effects of alcohol, leading to an even greater intake of caffeine. Patients rarely mention consumption of energy drinks to their doctors unless they are asked. Doctors should warn patients with cardiac conditions about the potential dangers of these drinks and ask young people in particular whether they consume such drinks on a regular basis or through binge drinking.

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